From staff reports
A Seabrook man has been convicted of a deadly shooting in a Hardeeville apartment complex.
A Jasper County General Sessions Court found Jharaun Montyce Washington, 25, guilty of murder Thursday in the April 2020 shooting death of 28-year-old Ridgeland resident Donovan Donvatrae Hay. Washington also was found guilty of possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime. He was sentenced to 34 years in prison for murder and five years for the weapons charge, with the sentences to be served consecutively.
“Mr. Washington fired nearly two dozen shots, not only killing Donovan Hay but endangering many innocent bystanders with his attack in the middle of the day,” said Trasi Campbell of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “He is a menace, and the community is safe now that he is off the streets.”
The crime was captured by surveillance cameras at Walsh Drive Apartments, where the shooting took place. Hay and three passengers were driving through the complex on April 22, 2020, when they passed the home of Washington’s mother, where her son and four other males were on the front porch. There was a history of disputes between the two groups.
Hay drove around a corner and stopped behind a row of hedges, but still within sight of the men on the stoop. A passenger exited the vehicle and retrieved a firearm from the trunk as Washington simultaneously walked to a white 2001 Cadillac parked in front of his mother’s residence and retrieved a handgun.
Moments later, Washington opened fire on Hay’s vehicle and its occupants. One of his bullets struck Hay in the head and killed him.
Investigators from the Hardeeville Police Department and S.C. State Law Enforcement Division collected 22 9mm casings from the spot where Washington fired. His gun was never recovered.
Campbell called 20 witnesses during two days of testimony at the Jasper County Courthouse.
Circuit Court Judge Robert Bonds handed down the sentence.
Washington’s criminal record includes convictions for failure to stop for a blue light, three counts of breaking into a motor vehicle, grand larceny and receiving stolen goods.
Campbell is a member of the Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders. That team has earned convictions against 441 of the 477 defendants it has prosecuted since its formation in 2009.